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Reanimated Rodents and The Meaning of Life

Article #279 • Written by Matt Castle

This article was written by Matt Castle, our brand-spanking-new writer who joins us from across the pond where U's are used liberally and R's and E's are juxtaposed brazenly.

One afternoon in the early 1950s, a young biochemist left his suburban lab bench at Britain’s Mill Hill National Institute of Medical Research and boarded a tube train to Leicester Square. His destination was on nearby Lisle Street, in an area which today makes up part of London's glittering West End theatre district. But in the post-war years the sector was better known as a hectic hub for two of humanity's oldest professions. Only one of these was of interest to the young scientist. The girls hawking their wares seemed to sense his single-mindedness and kept their distance as the greenhorn scientist turned his attention to his true quarry: the vast abundance of second-hand military hardware that could be found in the shops lining Lisle Street.

Specifically, he was looking for war surplus radar equipment. His intention was to cannibalize a suitable radio frequency transmitter for the purpose of reanimating dead, frozen hamsters.

The purposeful young biochemist was working in an exciting field so new that it didn’t yet have an official name, although eventually the term "cryobiology"-- literally meaning "frosty life"-- gained currency. One of his colleagues at Mill Hill was Dr Audrey Smith, the leading light in a series of hamster freezing and reanimation experiments. These dramatic and oft-quoted experiments have since achieved legendary status among cryobiologists, including researchers of the credible variety and researchers of the we'll-freeze-your-head-and-bring-it- back-to-life-attached-to-the-body-of-a-spaniel-when-future-technology-allows variety. Yet they have never been repeated.

The basic procedure worked like this:

1. Obtain desired number of Golden Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus).

2. Place in ice bath at temperature -5°C.

3. Leave hapless rodents to cool until hearts have stopped beating, respiration has ceased, animals are frozen rigid and are-– by any conventional definition of life-- no longer alive.

4. After 60-90 minutes, remove hamsters from ice bath.

5. If required, cut sections of one or more control animals to determine degree of freezing. Please note-- animals thus examined should not be used in subsequent reanimation attempts.

6. Warm the hearts of the frozen hamsters until they start up again, followed by gentle re-warming of the rest of the animal(s) until miraculous recovery occurs.

7. Determine number of survivors.

Serves 5.

In the initial experiments, reanimation of the hamsters was carried out using the crude method of pressing a hot metal spoon against the animal's chest until circulation resumed. The important thing was to warm the heart first- the researchers soon found that simply placing the hamsters in a bath of warm water would lead to an over-rapid resumption of circulation, promptly stopping the heart again due to contact with the freezing cold blood returning from the animals' extremities. By applying heat to the heart first a more gradual and ultimately successful reanimation could take place.

But it was felt that the use of the hot metal spoons was a step too far; the burning and singing of the skin caused obvious distress to the reanimated animals. The purpose of the young biochemist's visit to Lisle Street was to make this aspect of the re-warming process more humane. By adapting an old aircraft radio frequency transmitter to emit microwaves, a diathermy device was made which could heat the hamsters’ hearts externally without damaging the skin in the same way a microwave oven cooks ready meals without melting the plastic container.

The astute scientist who pioneered this technique and later braved the whores of Lisle Street to find suitable equipment was a man named James Lovelock. In his autobiography Homage to Gaia he describes how his work on hamster-reanimation got him thinking about the meaning of life. According to conventional definitions of "life," the frozen hamsters were decidedly dead; the unfortunate rodents weren’t moving, they weren’t breathing, their hearts had stopped, and they certainly weren’t eating, drinking or reproducing. Yet they could be made almost as good as new with a little bit of hot-spoon or microwave therapy. He wondered if "life" might have a broader meaning. This set him on the path to the theory for which he is most well known: the Gaia Hypothesis.

James Lovelock with statue of Gaia in background.  Photo (c) Comby Institute
James Lovelock with statue of Gaia in background. Photo (c) Comby Institute

Thirteen years after he left the Mill Hill laboratories and the field of cryobiology, he finally published the landmark paper Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia Hypothesis with his biologist collaborator, Lynn Margulis. Gaia theory proposes the existence of a system of complex feedback mechanisms that work across the whole of the Earth’s surface; these involve both living and non-living parts of the biosphere which act to keep the chemistry and temperature of the planetary surface comfortable for life. In some important respects this entire system could be considered as akin to ‘living’ itself. Lovelock’s novelist friend William Golding found an appropriate name from Greek mythology: that of the Earth Goddess, Gaia.

At first the idea was met with disbelief-- then with ridicule. To this day Gaia theory is still far from being universally accepted among the scientific community. Although Lovelock was careful to stress that his theory wasn't suggesting that the Earth was actually alive-- only that the Earth system mimics a living, self-regulating entity in some ways-- many scientists struggled with the analogy. For a start the Earth doesn’t eat or move purposefully, and it has never displayed any discernible interest in mating with neighbouring planets. It was a difficult concept to reconcile with the traditionalist view that something was alive only if it met certain established criteria, such as being capable of metabolism or growth.

Meanwhile cryobiology research continued. By the time Lovelock left Mill Hill in the early 1960s the freezing and successful reanimation of hamsters using microwave diathermy was almost routine. But there were limitations to the technique. For a start, the temperatures involved never went further than a few degrees below the freezing point of water and only for an hour or so at a time; although in some cases more than 80% of the water in the skin and 60% of the water in the brain had changed to ice, the animals were never 100% frozen. Thus most of the hamsters' cells were spared the tattering which is characteristic of full ice crystal formation.

The results were certainly dramatic, demonstrating that it is possible to lower complex organisms to below-freezing temperatures and then successfully reanimate them. The knowledge they gained had clear relevance to the aim of improving human health; current medical advances that derive from early cryobiology research include techniques for the storage and transport of human tissues destined for transplant, many aspects of low temperature surgery, and experimental techniques for improving outcomes in resuscitation after cardiac arrest. Though these researchers were not advocating the freezing of dead human bodies or heads for later reanimation, their research did become the basis for just such a movement-- a scandal-tainted offshoot of cryobiology known as cryonics.

A cryonics patient is prepared for freezing in a vat of dry ice.
A cryonics patient is prepared for freezing in a vat of dry ice.

But attempts to repeat the experiments with larger mammals and at lower temperatures have never been successful. And neither was the phenomenon entirely original: in the natural world numerous critters have been pulling a similar trick for millennia. Fish swim in freezing polar seas with antifreeze proteins in their blood, Wood Frogs' circulation and breathing stops when they partially freeze during the winter, and even mammals like the Arctic Ground Squirrels can hibernate successfully at temperatures of -3°C, with no need to resort to microwave diathermy for reanimation after months, not minutes, spent at subzero temperatures.

Less spectacular but perhaps more significant experiments in cryobiology were also carried out by Smith’s team. Attempts to reanimate frozen sperm in 1949 were only successful when a mislabeled bottle of preservation solution was later found out to contain glycerol. Glycerol, which lowers the freezing point of water, is widely used to this day as a cryopreservative agent and has been found in many cold-loving creatures in nature. Dr Smith later investigated the phenomenon of supercooling, which involves techniques to prevent the formation of ice crystals in cells despite cooling them to temperatures below the freezing point of water.

Of course Mill Hill did not have a monopoly on ghoulish cryobiology experiments and related research was carried out elsewhere. Notably a researcher at Japan’s Kobe University, Isamu Suda, froze cat brains in solutions containing glycerol for extended periods in the 1960s. When the brains were re-warmed-– up to two and a half years later-- brainwave activity was recorded in some of the specimens. Suda, however, was unable ascertain whether frozen cat brains dream of electric mice.

These days ethical considerations limit the scope of such research. Animal experiments still take place at Mill Hill but only under a strict ethical review process which exhaustively balances any possible benefits of the research against actual or potential suffering to the animals involved. It can safely be assumed that the hamster freezing experiments in their original form would be well and truly off-menu.

The potential demonstrated by frozen-hamster research has yet to be fully realised, but perhaps one day Dr. Audrey Smith's groundbreaking efforts will lay the foundation for powerful new medical procedures. Indeed, a hot over-sized spoon might one day miraculously transform frozen human cadavers back into living, breathing, productive zombies to slave away in the mechanized underworld of the future. Until that long-hoped-for day arrives, perhaps-- like James Lovelock-- we can console ourselves with the idea that this pioneering work has helped broaden the meaning of life.

Article written by Matt Castle, published on 22 June 2007. Matt is a writer and contributing editor for Damn Interesting, and not quite an anagram of 'Clam Taste'.

Article design by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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116 Comments
mjunk
Posted 22 June 2007 at 03:55 pm

First.

Anybody care to discuss the theological implications of reanimated dead people? What about the soul? Does it get recalled from the "hereafter," are the reanimated soul-less, or did they never have a soul to begin with?


tednugentkicksass
Posted 22 June 2007 at 04:06 pm

Jolly good and DI! Thanks for an interesting read. Cheery-o.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 22 June 2007 at 04:10 pm

mjunk said: "First.


Anybody care to discuss the theological implications of reanimated dead people? What about the soul? Does it get recalled from the "hereafter," are the reanimated soul-less, or did they never have a soul to begin with?"

I don't think we need to get into any sort of religious debate.... it would just end up lessening the stature of this article. Not that religion is unimportant, but any discussion about it in cyber-space turns out the same way, with the same sides clearly defined.


Dtex
Posted 22 June 2007 at 04:43 pm

BRAAAIIINZZZZ!!!!!!


nona
Posted 22 June 2007 at 04:56 pm

I wonder - what happened to the hamsters after they were brought back to life? Were they shipped off to a tender loving home, or put down for real, or just frozen and reanimated over and over again? And does reanimating these creatures mean that they had, in fact, created ZOMBIE HAMSTERS!!!!!!


Dr. Evil
Posted 22 June 2007 at 05:20 pm

That is cool (excuse the pun).

I am not too fussed about being reanimated thought. If God wanted us to reanimate after frozen, he would have put glycerol in our blood.


Tex
Posted 22 June 2007 at 05:31 pm

Just whos brain was it...

Abby... abbynormal?

Hahaha - well Frankenstein or not - Pretty interesting - anyone ever see the robot chicken spoofing walt Disney's cryo freezing? The spider bot who craves immigrants from Puerto Rico? Made me think of that for some reason...Anyways - Damn Interesting.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 22 June 2007 at 05:58 pm

From what I have heard, I don't want to be dead for a few hours and come back. Working in nursing some years ago, and also I have a couple friends who themselves or a parent has had this happen, I kept hearing stories from people who had open heart surgery and were put on bypass. They all had one thing in common; they couldn't explain what it was, but felt something had "changed" after the surgery. Several actually said "my brain just seems different. My memories, my thoughts, they are just different", some who said their dreams have been disturbing or at least not the norm for them ever since, and I thought it was kind of weird. They think it's pretty weird too.

You really think about it...if you are on bypass, your heart is stopped while machines keep your blood warm, you are essentially dead for some hours so they can operate, and then pumped back full of your blood and brought back to life with electrical shock. Surely that has some profound effect you. And according to these people it did.

So it makes me wonder; if you freeze to death and are brought back to life, after being dead minutes, hours, days, whatever, what happens to your brain? Don't you think, especially if you take some time to talk to those who have been dead for awhile and brought back (for example the bypass people), it changes you? Not like a spiritual awakening or change, but it screws with your head?

Did the hamsters live to their life expectancy after these experiments? Did they display the normal behavior of a hamster (stay nocturnal, still desire the same foods, etc) afterwards?

Great article Matt, very thought provoking, thanks!


Pete
Posted 22 June 2007 at 06:40 pm

The King is dead. Long live the King. Matt, you are royalty as far as I'm concerned. Great article! Keep 'em coming. We are ravenous after hibernating through the long, frosty DI winter. May your tenure be long and prolific - and totally without cyronic intervention.


Misfit
Posted 22 June 2007 at 06:55 pm

Yes that certainly was a fascinating article. Very well written, Matt!

As for the theological implications of life and stuff, I really don't want to get into a debate over the existence of God or anything... However, I believe that God knows the future, and would simply leave your soul in your body until you for sure, and forever die.

As for anyone who doesn't believe in God, I really don't think they have a place in discussing any theological implications here, other than "oh people don't have souls anyway, so that's that."

Congradulations on being inducted into the DamnInteresting writing staff, Commander Castle! I'll be looking forward to new articles from you!


wwalkersd
Posted 22 June 2007 at 07:21 pm

EVERYTHINGZEN: these odd feelings could just as easily be a side effect of the type of anesthesia used, couldn't they?

So, did they run any tests on the hamsters after reanimation? For example, did they train the hamsters to certain behaviors, and then make sure the training survived the process?


errna
Posted 22 June 2007 at 07:23 pm

DI text, well-done for a first-timer, appreciate the word play.

"He wondering if "life" might have a broader meaning."
"and even mammals like Arctic Ground Squirrels can can hibernate successfully at temperatures of -3°C"

just being fussy...

The description of the experiments made me think of a place in north-eastern China, Pingfang, now a suburb of the city of Harbin, where during the IIWW the Japanese army did similar experiments on POWs, among other things freezing them alive...


mjunk
Posted 22 June 2007 at 07:38 pm

I can understand not wanting to get into a theological debate....lots of fun but nothing is resolved. But darn it, it is lots of fun. How about a legal debate? What would be the legal status of someone in stasis? What about someone who is revived? Would life insurance companies pay benefits to someone who has the potential to return to life? Would estates be settled, or left in probate unitl the issue is decided one way or the other? Could resusitation be court ordered? Or could a court block an attempt at resusitation? Lots of things to ponder....

Who would have thought "Mostly Dead" would go from being a memorable movie line to a potential state of being?

Anyway, great article, Matt. I look forward to more.


huerndy
Posted 22 June 2007 at 07:41 pm

This is nonsense, we all know that the real meaning to life, the universe, and everything is 42! I say that these hamsters are merely mouse brethren in another 3-dimensional representation of their pan dimensional bodies.

They are really continuing experiments on us humans. In this case, I strongly suggest giving them any brains that they desire, since they can't take Aurthur Dent's. It'll all be for naught though, the world's going to end at Stavro Mueller Beta.


D Hall
Posted 22 June 2007 at 09:04 pm

If you really want to play around with the "theological implications of reanimated dead people" I suggest you find a copy of : "The Undead and Philosophy: Chicken Soup for the Soulless," part of the Popular Culture and Philosophy series published by Open Court Press.

I, for one, was amused by the thought of hordes of zombie hamsters wandering the planet---Not to mention the other possibilities: "Night of the Living Lemmings," "Return of the Zombie Chipmunks," "Reanimalator," "Plan 9 from Petsmart."

When an article jumpstarts my brain--It is Damn Interesting. And this one is! Well done, Matt!


GigsTaggart
Posted 22 June 2007 at 09:40 pm

nona said: "I wonder - what happened to the hamsters after they were brought back to life?

They were all dissected, I'm sure. Some may have been allowed to live out their natural lives just to see how long they would live after such an event, but all were dissected in the end.


ballaerina
Posted 22 June 2007 at 10:01 pm

"Suda, however, was unable ascertain whether frozen cat brains dream of electric mice."

This seals the deal: you're my new favorite DI writer.


Doh! (_8(|)
Posted 22 June 2007 at 10:13 pm

These people and the people from the article, "Beware the Dangers of Oxygen", should get together.


Floj
Posted 22 June 2007 at 11:34 pm

Hehe "serves 5."

Damn Interesting indeed! Glad to see another writer on the DI staff. Good thing the average pie serves eight!

Tex said: "Just whos brain was it…

Abby… abbynormal?
"

Haha , Frau Blücher!
*horses freak out*

That'd be really cool if we actually could find a way to bring someone who is long dead from drowning or freezing back to life.
This guy wasn't frozen but he survived getting killed (well...):
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=258
Maybe combining some slow heating with steady increase of O2 and a shot of some good ol' adrenaline is what we need to snap back to life.
mmmhmm Adrenaline pie, best served cold.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 23 June 2007 at 12:03 am

mjunk said: "I can understand not wanting to get into a theological debate….lots of fun but nothing is resolved. But darn it, it is lots of fun. How about a legal debate? What would be the legal status of someone in stasis? What about someone who is revived? Would life insurance companies pay benefits to someone who has the potential to return to life? Would estates be settled, or left in probate unitl the issue is decided one way or the other? Could resusitation be court ordered? Or could a court block an attempt at resusitation? Lots of things to ponder…."

I have no clue. Anybody know what happened that anti-semite Walt Disney's estate after his freezing? Any law junkies out there? Was he already dead when he was frozen or did he undergo a pre-emptive freezing?

Also, mrjunk, I'm in agreement with you about the joys of theological argument. I just thought I was finally the first to comment (though those debates really don't accomplish anything). Guess I was a little put off-- damn you.


justapeon
Posted 23 June 2007 at 02:20 am

How do you want to define death? Clinically, when every method available is used and still the body cannot function (by that I mean eat, breath, pump blood) on it own? When you start to smell real real bad? (the double real is because I know some people that already smell real bad)

What is interesting is that in the Bible death is referred to as sleep. In fact until the second coming and the second death, no one is truelly gone. We don't go to heaven until then...why else do we write RIP on headstones?


IDY
Posted 23 June 2007 at 02:28 am

tednugentkicksass said: "Anybody know what happened that anti-semite Walt Disney's estate after his freezing? Any law junkies out there? Was he already dead when he was frozen or did he undergo a pre-emptive freezing?

Urban legend according to Snopes

http://www.snopes.com/disney/waltdisn/frozen.htm


mohdowais
Posted 23 June 2007 at 03:07 am

Wow, great thought-provoking article for a first attempt. I remember reading about a boy with a brain aneurysm that had to be surgically removed, and the only way they could it was to stop all his body functions by lowering his body temperature to near freezing point. Otherwise operating on him would be like "trying to fix a leaking pipe without turning off the valve". The surgery was successful and the boy made a full recovery.

I read this in the Reader's Digest, so I am assuming this is true. I found the idea absolutely fascinating and makes me wonder if this has become common medical procedure. In that case, the Mill Hill experiments have already found their place in mainstream medicine!


iksobert
Posted 23 June 2007 at 06:07 am

Is that last picture from the German silent film Metropolis by any chance? Nice!


Shaggy
Posted 23 June 2007 at 08:28 am

Definitely one of the best articles I have read on here in a while. Kudos new guy!


Ranen
Posted 23 June 2007 at 10:16 am

Thought this video fit the article

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/24791/


Snake_oil_baron
Posted 23 June 2007 at 11:09 am

I seem to remember reading that they were looking at why hypothermia victims can often be resuscitated after being under the ice for relatively long periods and it seems that the being deprived of oxygen before or during the cold temperature has something to do with it. The metabolism changes when deprived of Oxygen and this change might be beneficial to surviving the cold which in turn might make the body more resistant to damage from chemical breakdown. They were hoping that this knowledge, combined with other research into natural cryopreservation techniques of frogs and insects (natural antifreeze chemicals) would allow doctors to put patients in a kind of suspended animation state with no brain activity or heart beat. This would be useful for very long surgeries especially on the heart itself. I seem to remember that they had some success on large mammals like pigs or dogs. I must look into that to see if any follow up info is available. Taking someone's brain and body off line for a few hours seems pretty strange to me. You can talk about people being "dead" for a few seconds in the emergency room if brain and heart functions stop but hours of no activity is even more like the real deal.


alamosh
Posted 23 June 2007 at 06:57 pm

Death is far more than just the absence of bodily functions...


another viewpoint
Posted 23 June 2007 at 07:38 pm

...and which would you prefer first thing in the morning...freeze-dried; mice, rats or hamsters? Mmmm good! Look out Campbells!


jarvisloop
Posted 24 June 2007 at 06:09 am

Mr. Castle:

You wrote the following: "...whether frozen cat brains dream of electric mice." Thanks for the allusion to one of my favorite science-fantasy writers: Philip K. Dick. Although I enjoy "Blade Runner," it is vastly different from the novel.

Speaking in terms of science-fantasy novels that are actually social commentary, if you have not yet read Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War," I highly recommend it. Its references to the Cold War between the US and the USSR are still timely. All one has to do is to substitute a few words (such as The Taliban, Iran, Iraq, Al-Qaida, bin Laden, terrorism), and the novel's subthemes still apply.


jarvisloop
Posted 24 June 2007 at 06:12 am

As to the matter of a soul, eternal life, or the lacks thereof, we are still left with most things being a matter of faith or the absence of faith.

As for my beliefs, they don't actually matter, do they?

I will say this, though: "If, after I die, I find out that there's no afterlife, I'm going to be really angry."


Dave Group
Posted 24 June 2007 at 12:54 pm

I, for one, was amused by the thought of hordes of zombie hamsters wandering the planet—Not to mention the other possibilities: "Night of the Living Lemmings," "Return of the Zombie Chipmunks," "Reanimalator," "Plan 9 from Petsmart."

D. Hall, I suggest you contact Troma Films-- I predict you have good potential to be a screenwriter. :D


Tink
Posted 24 June 2007 at 02:05 pm

First of all, Thank you Matt Castle,thank you. That is some DI! research. We welcome you with open eyes and arms!

Second:

Ranen said: "Thought this video fit the article
http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/24791/"

LMAO,too funny! ( & sat up all night watching the videos on this link). Thank you too, Ranen.


Tex
Posted 24 June 2007 at 05:42 pm

Floj said: " mmmhmm Adrenaline pie, best served cold "

(shudder) Remember that scene in the Rock, where Nicholas Cage injects the atropine straight into his heart... thats how I imagine an adrenalin shot going.... I see a light at the end of the tunnnel.... HHHHHHEHEEEELLLLLLOOOOOOOOOooo !!!!!!
(insert R2D2 Scream)

anyway - back to packing...


Byrden
Posted 25 June 2007 at 04:45 am

>> What about the soul? Does it get recalled from the "hereafter"

Were I a scientist, I would suggest that you reanimate 100 people and then examine them with whatever technique you used to deduce the existence of 'souls' in the first place.

Were I a wild-eyed romantic, I would suggest that perhaps EVERYTHINGZEN's reanimated people feel "different" because they have been inhabited (like a newborn) by a new soul.

Were I working, I would not be reading this website in the first place.


Thag
Posted 25 June 2007 at 07:52 am

I just pictured a room full of eerily smart people surrounded by a batch of frozen hampsters, wondering how to warm them up. Then in true British fashion one of the scientists stopped stirring his steaming tea and removed the spoon; then the light-bulb went on...


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 25 June 2007 at 08:08 am

The hamster was probably only mostly dead.

DI article indeed! Perhaps the definition of life should also include the potential for life. Potential energy is considered a form of energy, why isn't the potential for life considered a form of life itself?


smokefoot
Posted 25 June 2007 at 09:09 am

Legally a frozen person is considered dead, whether or not they were alive when frozen (though charges of murder have been brought when the freezing process is done as soon as possible). A person brought back would probably be in the same situation that a person mistakenly declared dead - the law will recognize that they are alive, but if probate has occurred they can only get their stuff back if the recipient want to give it back.

Religiously, did Jesus recognize the concept of the soul? I had read that whole soul idea came from the Greeks after Jesus' time. Should the soul even be in Christianity?

Philosophically, the Gaia hypothesis is interesting, though you can easily take it too far. Some of the feedback loops Lovelock describes clearly exist, but that doesn't mean we should assume that every disturbance of the earth's systems will automatically be corrected.


dariwest
Posted 25 June 2007 at 09:14 am

Reading this DI article reminded me of Pet Semetary (the book, not the movie) and how the pets were different after their reincarnation. And when they talk of planting their son up there how it sent shudders down the spine of the ol' guy across the street. Because the people who had been reincarnated were different, dangerous even.
So my point is that I've seen first hand how different people were after strokes and anuerisms (however the hell you spell it) so there's definitely some truth in the 'zombie' theories.


Metryq
Posted 25 June 2007 at 09:28 am

Tardigrades do a complete freeze-drying routine naturally and bounce back years later. And they're quite "large" to be pulling off this trick.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 25 June 2007 at 10:38 am

What are Tardigrades?


Thag
Posted 25 June 2007 at 10:47 am

Nicki the Heinous said: "What are Tardigrades?"

Grades that arrive later than expected


Merciless
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:06 am

Great job Mr. Castle. Would you like some hot tea with that big piece of pie you served up? Keep 'em coming.


Tink
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:19 am

jarvisloop said: "As to the matter of a soul, eternal life, or the lacks thereof, we are still left with most things being a matter of faith or the absence of faith.

As for my beliefs, they don't actually matter, do they?
I will say this, though: "If, after I die, I find out that there's no afterlife, I'm going to be really angry.""

LOL, yes Dear, and who could blame you. There are so many NDE's recorded now days, I do not see how the question of "more after this" can continue to be asked. Though differant for each persons perspective and preconcieved ideas about life after death.

As EverythingZen said, folks come back from bypass and some dialysis "differant". This is a well known phenomonem associated with these surgeries, doctors and psychiatrist's have yet to figure out why.

Wonder if the NDE while under anesthesia, somehow warps the experiance, and the mind is unable to remember the profound, or as one suggested in another article, experianced great fear in a hellish way,(not that I believe in hell; many do) and has blocked it. Or even if this could be the minds way of dealing with a form of post traumatic stress?

One can not help but understand that any deep unconciousness would result in some brain damage.

I think one of our commentors mentioned a bad acid (LSD) trip in his or her youth, and that changed this persons perspective in life profoundly. I think that comment was in the article about lucid dreaming...

On a lighter note, check out todays story on SNOPES.com,

http://www.snopes.com/photos/food/rats.asp

(not for the squemish),Yumm,rats-on-a-stick! lol.


dariwest
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:28 am

Nicki the Heinous said: "What are Tardigrades?"

I found this on Wikepedia, Tardigrades or water bears comprise the phylum Tardigrada. They are small, segmented animals, similar and probably related to the arthropods. Tardigrades were first described by Johann August Ephraim Goeze in 1773 (kleiner Wasserbär = little water bear). The name Tardigrada means "slow walker" and was given by Spallanzani in 1777. Tardigrades are small animals. The biggest adults may reach a body length of 1.5 mm, the smallest below 0.1 mm. Freshly hatched larvae may be smaller than 0.05 mm.

More than 1,000 species of tardigrades have been described. Tardigrades occur over the whole world, from the high Himalaya (above 6,000 m) to the deep sea (below 4,000 m) and from the polar regions to the equator.

The most convenient place to find tardigrades is on lichens and mosses. Other environments are dunes, beaches, soil and marine or freshwater sediments, where they may occur quite frequently (up to 25,000 animals per litre).

So, um, there you have it. I'm not really surprised that they can 'freeze dry' themselves since they're so tiny


Coherent
Posted 25 June 2007 at 01:29 pm

The Gaia Hypothesis is kind of a non-event as far as philosophical epiphanies go. Yes, of course the Earth Ecosystem has many similarities to life. But it isn't "alive" unless you extend the definition of life to cover it.

In the same way, many many different informational processes are "alive". The stock market. Gene fragments inside your DNA. Some types of computer viruses. Prions folding inside your brain.

The big problem is with the fuzzy definition of "life" and how, when we try to define it more strictly, we find exceptions that disprove the rule. Life is an informational process, not strictly chemical or biological.


auntieem
Posted 25 June 2007 at 02:19 pm

ballaerina said: ""Suda, however, was unable ascertain whether frozen cat brains dream of electric mice."


This seals the deal: you're my new favorite DI writer."

yes, morbid, but nicely done!


Matt Castle
Posted 25 June 2007 at 03:40 pm

Thanks for all the comments guys. It's a pleasure to be aboard the good ship DI.


Jeffrey93
Posted 25 June 2007 at 07:58 pm

Nicki the Heinous said: "The hamster was probably only mostly dead.


DI article indeed! Perhaps the definition of life should also include the potential for life. Potential energy is considered a form of energy, why isn't the potential for life considered a form of life itself?"

Let's please not go there. Lonely men all over the world will be convicted of manslaughter when all their little swimming 'potentials for life' go swimming right down the shower drain to their death.


cutterjohn
Posted 25 June 2007 at 10:05 pm

Matt Castle said: "It can safely be assumed that the hamster freezing experiments in their original form would be well and truly off-menu."

Here's a question.. Why is the pursuit of knowledge hampered by silly ethics like this? They are just hamsters. Hell, it doesnt even matter that they are hamsters.. They could be kittens. Makes no difference. So long as its for a useful cause, whats the harm?


Bolens
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:10 pm

smokefoot said: "Religiously, did Jesus recognize the concept of the soul? I had read that whole soul idea came from the Greeks after Jesus' time. Should the soul even be in Christianity?"

1. Absolutely, and 2. Yes. The word "soul" is used throughout the Christian Bible, 109 times in the Old Testament and 21 times in the New Testament. As God, Jesus would have a pretty good grip on the concept. In the book of Matthew, verse 10:28 Jesus says, "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." In the New Testament book of Mark is another interesting statment by Jesus on one's soul. In Mark 8:36 Jesus says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?"


Dr. Evil
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:36 pm

Jeffrey93 said: "Let's please not go there. Lonely men all over the world will be convicted of manslaughter when all their little swimming 'potentials for life' go swimming right down the shower drain to their death."

nice analogy there...i really needed to hear that

wat about stem cell technology?...many people believe that taking cells from embryos is manslaughter/murder. Although the cells are living, the embryo does not feel pain, does not have a train of thought and cannot develop on its own. It is simply a parasite that we can take advantage of to successfully treat people with illnesses. It has the potential to become human life, but without a 'host' would not be able to do so.


Jeffrey93
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:42 pm

cutterjohn said: "Here's a question.. Why is the pursuit of knowledge hampered by silly ethics like this? They are just hamsters. Hell, it doesnt even matter that they are hamsters.. They could be kittens. Makes no difference. So long as its for a useful cause, whats the harm?"

This is what I don't get. You can breed Hamsters for this specific purpose, so they would have otherwise not existed if it weren't for the experiments that will be performed on them. I don't think we should just be conducting whatever half-cocked experiments we want on animals that would put them through enormous and continual pain, but this seems like the benefits would far outweigh the pain caused to the little critter.
If the experiments will benefit the human race AND the test subjects were created for this sole purpose (humans excluded) then go nuts.

This is like the vegetarians that take their non-meat stance because it's cruel to animals. Those animals wouldn't exist if it weren't for our desire to evenutally eat them. Some life is better than no life, in my humble opinion.

We breed the cows...so there is no problem in eating them. Now, if we go around slaughtering wild animals to eat/perform experiments on without any attention paid to repopulating the species, yeah...that's a problem. This isn't a problem. 'Princess' the hamster can suffer all the pain necessary to advance science and benefit humans and/or other animals, since Princess would have never existed if it weren't for humans wanting to conduct experiments on her.


Jeffrey93
Posted 25 June 2007 at 11:52 pm

Dr. Evil said: "nice analogy there…i really needed to hear that


wat about stem cell technology?…many people believe that taking cells from embryos is manslaughter/murder. Although the cells are living, the embryo does not feel pain, does not have a train of thought and cannot develop on its own. It is simply a parasite that we can take advantage of to successfully treat people with illnesses. It has the potential to become human life, but without a 'host' would not be able to do so."

Again, I disagree with the negative approach taken to stem cell research. I am also pro-choice. If stem cells are living beings and a fetus is a living being....then so is sperm and eggs, then we can take it one farther, plants are 'living', so we shouldn't eat them. Does anybody feel deep guilt when they smash a mosquito that has been pestering them all night? No. What's the difference? That mosquito was just as, no MORE, of a living thing than anything involved in stem cell research.

Society is getting to a point that is far too politically correct for it's own good. We could be curing major medical problems, but we're too squeamish at the thought of an unborn bunch of cells being used to help a living person that is suffering.

If you step back and look at how we deal with things like this it makes you almost embarrassed. A dog suffers, we put it down humanely. A living person in tremendous pain wants to end their misery, and that's murder to do it. A hamster, stem cell, whatever...could be used for great scientific gain to benefit millions of humans, and it's barbaric and inhumane. Going out drinking beer and killing Bambi just for kicks...is a 'sport'.

Pretty messed up, isn't it?


tednugentkicksass
Posted 26 June 2007 at 03:12 am

Jeffrey93 said: "This is what I don't get. You can breed Hamsters for this specific purpose, so they would have otherwise not existed if it weren't for the experiments that will be performed on them. I don't think we should just be conducting whatever half-cocked experiments we want on animals that would put them through enormous and continual pain, but this seems like the benefits would far outweigh the pain caused to the little critter.

If the experiments will benefit the human race AND the test subjects were created for this sole purpose (humans excluded) then go nuts.

This is like the vegetarians that take their non-meat stance because it's cruel to animals. Those animals wouldn't exist if it weren't for our desire to evenutally eat them. Some life is better than no life, in my humble opinion.

We breed the cows…so there is no problem in eating them. Now, if we go around slaughtering wild animals to eat/perform experiments on without any attention paid to repopulating the species, yeah…that's a problem. This isn't a problem. 'Princess' the hamster can suffer all the pain necessary to advance science and benefit humans and/or other animals, since Princess would have never existed if it weren't for humans wanting to conduct experiments on her."

Agreed. If it takes a million hamsters to save one human's life, it's well worth it. The main problem I have with animal-rights activists is the amount of energy they expend humanizing stupid animals. Left to their own devices, animals are destines to die cruel, unremorsed deaths. I'm a pet owner, and a pet lover (not in that way, you sicko), but I'm also a farm boy and I can tell you from experience that cows are dumb as hell. They are nothing but meat and milk factories. That being said, undue animal cruelty is reprehensible and usually they work of disturbed children.

Jeffrey93 said: "If you step back and look at how we deal with things like this it makes you almost embarrassed. A dog suffers, we put it down humanely. A living person in tremendous pain wants to end their misery, and that's murder to do it. A hamster, stem cell, whatever…could be used for great scientific gain to benefit millions of humans, and it's barbaric and inhumane. Going out drinking beer and killing Bambi just for kicks…is a 'sport'.

Pretty messed up, isn't it?"

I'll leave the rest of that post for those more well-versed in their rhetoric. Though (for the record), I'd like to say that I'm not opposed to stem-cell research (I do believe that there are other, more palatable avenues to pursue... but I digress). What I'd really like to comment on is the fact that you equate the death of a beloved pet or much-missed relative with that of a deer, destined to die of starvation (if not hunted) because of the over-urbanisation of their natural range. I can understand the parallel, but it's really apples and oranges.

Most hunters really aren't out there to "kill Bambi," but rather to enjoy the relaxation provided by the relative seclusion. It's more a transcendant experience than a killing ground. It's true that animals die, but without any natural predators (killed so that we can expand our population centers ever farther), they would have a much more painful death awaiting them. With the onset of Chronic Wasting Disease, the harvesting of these animals is even more neccesary if we wish to maintain their native nobility.

I'm obviously predisposed to take the side of the hunter (being a country yokel and all), but I do not personally hunt-- there is little satisfaction in it for me. I can understand total relativism, but there is also little satisfaction in it. Some things that are, are for a reason; and I see no point in trying to overly humanize or dehumanize them.

I'm pro-life, but to me that means taking every precaution, including not having sex with that hot little filly at the bar who's hanging all over you. I don't wish to add to the political debate about abortion, so I don't want to be spreading my seed all over god's green earth. I guess that means I'm just pro-intelligent-thought. (Damn, I did, briefly, touch upon the other parts.)


Lisette
Posted 26 June 2007 at 06:02 am

Excellent... congrats on your first article!


Hoekstes
Posted 26 June 2007 at 07:42 am

A fly fell in my whiskey (on the rocks) last night and froze to the point of mostly dead. If only I had known about the warm spoon trick I might have saved the little bugger - pouring in more Johnny definately didn't help.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 26 June 2007 at 07:45 am

Jeffrey93 said: "Let's please not go there. Lonely men all over the world will be convicted of manslaughter when all their little swimming 'potentials for life' go swimming right down the shower drain to their death."

There's no need to worry about that, little swimmers only have half the potential needed to create a life. Even in a successful conception only one is used and the rest are wasted. Men would be no more guilty of manslaughter than women who since puberty have let each month go by without conceiving.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 26 June 2007 at 08:31 am

Hoekstes said: "A fly fell in my whiskey (on the rocks) last night and froze to the point of mostly dead. If only I had known about the warm spoon trick I might have saved the little bugger - pouring in more Johnny definately didn't help."

It's okay, he probably died really happy.


Spike
Posted 26 June 2007 at 04:54 pm

Great article. Hmmm hamstercicles....

The Gaia hypothesis is interesting, but of course the system we call earth supports the life on it and seems designed for that purpose or is it more likely that life on earth is the way it is because the earth is as it is. Kind of a rehash of the chicken or the egg debate isn't it? That's the sort of thing to ponder on sleepless nights.

After reading the article and comments, started thinking about the movie "Flatliners". Strange how things dredge up in your mind. According to the Bader Meinhoff thing, I should see it on the tube in the next day or so...will go well with some tea, pie and maybe a big hot spoon?


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 26 June 2007 at 07:45 pm

Bader Meinhoff is serious stuff Spike...happens to me all the time.

Ted I really don't think the analogies used by Jeffery were far off at all. If anything it's like grapes and raisins, not apples and oranges. The irony really is that messed up. We are entirely too politically correct for our own good.

I used to think that testing on animals was wrong. Even wrote a thesis based on it in a few years back in college. But the reality is, I would much rather have them test on a monkey or kitty or hamster than on me or my family if it means coming up with cures for diseases they may suffer from later in life. It's the greater good that really counts. So deer hunting, yes it's necessary, it provides a good by keeping overpopulation of the species (that and a fair share of becoming road kill).

I also wrote a very well researched thesis on euthanasia. Jeffery is right; you cannot say it's okay to take the dog dying from stage 3 lymphatic cancer and say you really should put him down to spare him the pain, but then look at grandma on her morphine drip moaning in pain, terminally ill and say "well that's grandma, it's different". We are willing to sentence grandma to a death of severe pain, yet we spare the dog. Because she's human, we have no right, right? She has morphine, right? Well, if you have ever seen a terminal patient die (I spent 4 years working in geriatrics, I have seen it and heard it and its not something you want to happen to you) the morphine does nothing for them. Helps slow respirations so they can die a little quicker. I want the option to kill myself if it gets that far. If I can't win please let me die in peace.

As for the hamsters, if I freeze to death and there is a way to bring me back, I would like to say here and now, no thank you. If I'm dead I probably am dead for a reason. And that is coming from someone who doesn't believe in an afterlife. Or God for that matter, I just think if you have expired, the laws of nature say you are expired and you should likely just stay that way. I mean like really really dead. Not in cardiac arrest from trauma in an operating room with no heart beat when I was just alive 10 seconds ago, I mean super dead.


Jeffrey93
Posted 26 June 2007 at 08:23 pm

tednugentkicksass said: "I'll leave the rest of that post for those more well-versed in their rhetoric. Though (for the record), I'd like to say that I'm not opposed to stem-cell research (I do believe that there are other, more palatable avenues to pursue… but I digress). What I'd really like to comment on is the fact that you equate the death of a beloved pet or much-missed relative with that of a deer, destined to die of starvation (if not hunted) because of the over-urbanisation of their natural range. I can understand the parallel, but it's really apples and oranges.


Most hunters really aren't out there to "kill Bambi," but rather to enjoy the relaxation provided by the relative seclusion. It's more a transcendant experience than a killing ground. It's true that animals die, but without any natural predators (killed so that we can expand our population centers ever farther), they would have a much more painful death awaiting them. With the onset of Chronic Wasting Disease, the harvesting of these animals is even more neccesary if we wish to maintain their native nobility.

I'm obviously predisposed to take the side of the hunter (being a country yokel and all), but I do not personally hunt– there is little satisfaction in it for me. I can understand total relativism, but there is also little satisfaction in it. Some things that are, are for a reason; and I see no point in trying to overly humanize or dehumanize them."

I recognize that hunters don't go around killing animals non-stop trying wipe out the species. But it is allowed and it thrives in many places. But, using a hamster for an experiment is somehow wrong; when hunting isn't.

That makes no sense to me. If experiments on hamsters to benefit the human population are wrong...why isn't shooting a deer between the eyes wrong? Why isn't spraying that Wasp with Raid wrong? Why isn't setting rat traps wrong?

We pick and choose our battles and we pick foolishly. We seem to want a free reign to kill animals in some circumstances, but not even harm a hair on them in other circumstances. Which would normally be fine, but the circumstances would lead you to believe that a common sense approach would guarantee the opposite conclusion. (ie, experiments on hamsters to benefit humans is wrong....but setting rat traps is right). The opposite of that example should be the approach, experiments to benefit humans is okay, lethal traps to get rodents out of the home should be wrong. We truly are messed up when it comes to things like this. Grandma dies a slow painful death, while sparky the pooch gets a nice pleasant way out.

It's like bizzaro world.

You are a hunter and I respect that, you obviously like Ted Nugent and he is the ideal hunter. He respects the animals, enjoys the hunt, and kills for purpose. It's not the trophy on the wall...it's the meat. He feeds his family with his kill, he also seems to hunt in moderation to ensure the survival of the species. Hunting in that context is fine, however it amazes me that the general population deems this to be an acceptable practice when we find other things unacceptable.

We seem to have a higher regard for animals than we do ourselves, and quite often...we guarantee the existance of these animals. Cows for example, we breed the cows...we keep them in a nice pasture to protect them from harm and make sure they are well fed. But we're wrong to kill them to keep ourselves from starving?

I keep replaying the Simpson's episode where Troy MacLure takes 'Little Johnny' to the slaughterhouse. The diagram of the food chain with all arrows pointing to the human, and then Troy saying "If that cow had the chance he would eat you and everyone you've ever cared about!". I made myself laugh. So I'll stop now.

One last question though, did any great benefits come from these hamster experiments? I know it was thought to provide benefits for possible changes in surgery procedures, etc., etc. But did it really? This example just seemed to create more questions rather than answers or solutions.


Jeffrey93
Posted 26 June 2007 at 08:31 pm

Just thought of this so I figured I'd throw it out there....

If experiments on hamsters is wrong....what about on humans? Face it, there are plenty of people out there that would be willing to take a certain degree of risk to both a) benefit science & medicine and b) put a little cash in their pockets.

If there were willing participants, possibly destitute individuals that could use the money, would that be acceptable? These test subjects would be of sound mind and judgement and informed of the possible risks to their well being. If they agree, should scientists be allowed to use humans as test subjects?

Another option, I've read that some state has decided to knock time off of prison sentences for any inmate willing to donate organs. Could this same process be used to allow scientists to use a bank robber as a test subject in exchange for a reduced sentence?

Animals are one thing....but what do you think about willing human participants being used in testing to possibly benefit the rest of mankind?


tednugentkicksass
Posted 26 June 2007 at 11:44 pm

Sorry if my comment didn't make much sense. I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning and my brain may ot have been functioning normally. I totally agree with you about animal testing, and I understand that you weren't trying to say hunting is wrong. The idea I was trying to put forth is that hunting animals is not the same as putting down grandma. I guess my argument kind of breaks down there.... The statement that it's not really apples and oranges, but grapes and raisins kind of rings true to me.

I don't want you to think I took personal offence to any of your statements. Your sentiments are well worded and make sense. I just disagree when it comes to euthanasia. Maybe it's because I'm young and extremely healthy with no cause of misery (I guess if I saw the other side of the problem, I might change my mind), but I can't bear to think of a world where doctors also take lives. Ideals are based upon previous experience, and any deaths in my family have been relatively easy. Though my uncle died of lung cancer, he seemed pretty much at peace by the time he left us. My grandpa hade a stroke and was lost to us years before he passed, but it was still relatively peaceful.

I also agree with the idea of voluntary human testing. Just so long as we don't give them syphilis.


misanthrope
Posted 27 June 2007 at 01:48 am

Good show old chap, DI!


kwiksand
Posted 27 June 2007 at 02:40 am

"I also agree with the idea of voluntary human testing. Just so long as we don't give them syphilis."

You sir, have summed it up perfectly for me and drew such fantastic parallel with DamnInteresting. My Vote for quote of the week.


jarvisloop
Posted 27 June 2007 at 05:03 am

Tink said: "LOL, yes Dear, and who could blame you. There are so many NDE's recorded now days, I do not see how the question of "more after this" can continue to be asked. Though differant for each persons perspective and preconcieved ideas about life after death."

Tink: I have been short on time of late, and I have something of import to post about NDE's. I will post it as soon as I can. Please check back.


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 27 June 2007 at 07:21 am

Jeffrey93 said: "Just thought of this so I figured I'd throw it out there….

If experiments on hamsters is wrong….what about on humans? Face it, there are plenty of people out there that would be willing to take a certain degree of risk to both a) benefit science & medicine and b) put a little cash in their pockets.

If there were willing participants, possibly destitute individuals that could use the money, would that be acceptable? These test subjects would be of sound mind and judgement and informed of the possible risks to their well being. If they agree, should scientists be allowed to use humans as test subjects?

Another option, I've read that some state has decided to knock time off of prison sentences for any inmate willing to donate organs. Could this same process be used to allow scientists to use a bank robber as a test subject in exchange for a reduced sentence?

Animals are one thing….but what do you think about willing human participants being used in testing to possibly benefit the rest of mankind?"

I have always thought prisnors on death row should be forced to go undergo human testing. We are going to kill them anyway, might as well make good use of them while our tax dollars go to pay for their food and shelter as they sit, waiting to be killed.
Even if they aren't on death row, like the habitual offenders who get consecutive life sentences, or hard core offenders, murders, etc, should have to do it. Make those tax dollars work!


EVERYTHINGZEN
Posted 27 June 2007 at 07:37 am

tednugentkicksass said: "Sorry if my comment didn't make much sense. I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning and my brain may ot have been functioning normally. I totally agree with you about animal testing, and I understand that you weren't trying to say hunting is wrong. The idea I was trying to put forth is that hunting animals is not the same as putting down grandma. I guess my argument kind of breaks down there…. The statement that it's not really apples and oranges, but grapes and raisins kind of rings true to me.

I don't want you to think I took personal offence to any of your statements. Your sentiments are well worded and make sense. I just disagree when it comes to euthanasia. Maybe it's because I'm young and extremely healthy with no cause of misery (I guess if I saw the other side of the problem, I might change my mind), but I can't bear to think of a world where doctors also take lives. Ideals are based upon previous experience, and any deaths in my family have been relatively easy. Though my uncle died of lung cancer, he seemed pretty much at peace by the time he left us. My grandpa hade a stroke and was lost to us years before he passed, but it was still relatively peaceful.

I also agree with the idea of voluntary human testing. Just so long as we don't give them syphilis."

My sister and I, after working at several nursing home together, have a deal. One day, we were in a patients room who was some 80 years old, bed ridden, unable to speak or move, on a feeding tube, lying in her own "outputted matter" sotospeak, and as we were cleaning her up she looked at me and said "Please, if I ever get this way, just pull the damn tube and let me go". And I told her I absolutely would, and she of course will do the same for me.

If you really think about it, we give families the right t take people off life support, to take the feeding tube out, to shut the machines off and let them die. How is that different from euthanasia? I don't think it should be just the doctors choice. It should be decided by the patient (with a doctors blessing, though a second opinion could be sought), and only okay if they are terminally ill with a highly likely probability to die, someone who has done all the chemo, taken all the AIDS cocktails they can, who is dying and is going to die. It would have to be tightly restricted, I had pneumonia for two weeks about a year ago and really wanted to die, thought I would die, I was just that sick, and at all of 25 years old that was ridiculous, I was going to get better. That's why I said a doctors blessing should probably be necessary, maybe even two doctors.


Nicki the Heinous
Posted 27 June 2007 at 08:48 am

I wonder if some day criminals will be frozen in the hopes that later they can be 'cured'?


jade
Posted 27 June 2007 at 05:24 pm

Very DI and thought provoking. Don't know why but the Monty Python quote "I'm not dead yet..." and "It's just a flesh wound" keeps popping up in my head...

Nicki - I believe they made a horrible movie about that exact topic...

http://imdb.com/title/tt0106697/

I have to agree that we seem to be very selective with regards to how we treat and think about animals. Take cows for example.... The slaughterhouses employ various methods to ensure a quick and painless death, but I find it hard to believe that a nail to the forehead, or a conk on the side of the head followed by a quick slit of the throat and then left to bleed to death exactly exemplify 'humane' treatment of cows.

http://www.bongonews.com/layout1.php?event=2822

If the means justify the ends, then you have to make some concessions in life. If killing a few mice makes life (or death, then life in this case) more bearable, then by all means proceed.

However, if you are just wanting to figure out if a new makeup product will cause lesions on a monkey and by proxy a human, I think that falls well outside something that betters humanity… Although - some people ~really~ need makeup, so maybe it would be ok to experiment on the ugly monkeys.


mjunk
Posted 27 June 2007 at 06:41 pm

Byrden said: ">> What about the soul? Does it get recalled from the "hereafter"


Were I a scientist, I would suggest that you reanimate 100 people and then examine them with whatever technique you used to deduce the existence of 'souls' in the first place.

Were I a wild-eyed romantic, I would suggest that perhaps EVERYTHINGZEN's reanimated people feel "different" because they have been inhabited (like a newborn) by a new soul.

Were I working, I would not be reading this website in the first place."

Bryden,

If you were a wild-eyed HINDU romantic, do you think that old bodies inhabited by new souls could, just by luck of the draw, be inhabited by the old soul? In other words, could we be reincarnated as ourselves?? And, if so, would it still be REincarnated, or just incarnated?


Tink
Posted 27 June 2007 at 09:14 pm

mjunk said: "Were I a wild-eyed romantic, I would suggest that perhaps EVERYTHINGZEN's reanimated people feel "different" because they have been inhabited (like a newborn) by a new soul.


Were I working, I would not be reading this website in the first place."

Bryden,

If you were a wild-eyed HINDU romantic, do you think that old bodies inhabited by new souls could, just by luck of the draw, be inhabited by the old soul? In other words, could we be reincarnated as ourselves?? And, if so, would it still be REincarnated, or just incarnated?"

Lol, this is great. Now I suppose zombies on foot would be un-carnated? (Please throw your tomatoes at the little circle below my seat, Ha-ha!) ;-P


jarvisloop
Posted 28 June 2007 at 05:49 am

Tink said: "LOL, yes Dear, and who could blame you. There are so many NDE's recorded now days, I do not see how the question of "more after this" can continue to be asked. Though differant for each persons perspective and preconcieved ideas about life after death."

Tink: Some scientists have a different on NDE's. Michael Shermer, in his "Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time," states that an NDE is actually caused by a lack of oxygen in the brain and other physical causes; in other words, an NDE is analogous to a hallucination. Interestingly enough, NDE's are reported in all cultures, and, in their respective cultures, the images are similar. In a Christian society, most persons refer to the tunnel, a light, and a knowledge that one of the triune aspects of the Christian god meets them. Koranic cultures have spoken of the tunnel, a light, and Allah meeting them.

In brief, Shermer states that the scientists hypothesize that NDE's are culturally-based, physically-caused phenomena with no scientifically verifiable proof of an afterlife.

To a degree, I can support this theory. When I was twelve, I had my tonsils removed, and the anesthetic caused a tunnel-like image to appear in my mind. It was more similar to a inward-rotating spiral, but we can call it a form of a tunnel for now. At the center of the spiral, a light flashed. As the light flashed, I felt a sharp pang of pain in my head and heard a voice saying, "I am king," over and over.

Was that an NDE, as reported by Shermer? Perhaps. I have read that one is the closest to death that one can be without actually dying when under anesthesia.

On the other hand, both my brother (the one who is now physically handicapped because of a doctor's mistake) and a friend of mine had what can only be described as an authentic NDE. What is most noteworthy is that both reported seeing things that cannot be explained by the theory that Shermer reports. They can describe the operating room in precise detail, give exact descriptions of the surgeons and nurses in the room, tell the exact wordings of various signs posted around, and on and on.

Both my brother and my friend were taken into their respective operating rooms when they were completely unconscious and their eyes were closed. That means that they also had an out-of-body experience.

My brother went on to add that he met and spoke with Jesus the Christ during his NDE and saw many of his deceased family members. I believe my brother because I have never known him to lie -- ever. Moreover, he became a minister because of his experience. He rarely tells anyone of his experience, though. He didn't tell me until about five years ago.

We are now back to where we started. What should we believe? Once again, my opinions don't matter, do they? Beliefs about souls (or the lack thereof), NDE's, and an afterlife can be nothing but personal.

For the time being, I will continue to agree with Thomas Jefferson who once told a woman to judge him by his actions, not his religious beliefs that he would not reveal. If my actions are good, I hope that people will judge me to be a good man, regardless of what I believe or do not believe.

As for the afterlife, I'll see what's there or not there, I guess.


Tink
Posted 28 June 2007 at 07:31 pm

Thank you jarvisloop! Check out these links my dear, you may find them as fasinating as I did.

http://www.iands.org/

http://www.qsl.net/w5www/brinkley.html

http://www.adcrf.org/index.html


Tink
Posted 28 June 2007 at 07:36 pm

Opps,almost missed this,here is one more, very good page:

http://www.adcrf.org/adc_reality.htm


Mez
Posted 02 July 2007 at 06:15 am

About the legal of status people who weren't dead but were thought to be, check out http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=784

And welcome to Matt! Superbly written!


Truth-Engineer
Posted 02 July 2007 at 11:50 am

Theoretically, you are universally frozen traveling at the speed of light. Debate resolved.

As for religeous, theological and ethical implications, ask yourself where awareness comes from. Sure - a cyclic, interactive system can have the appearance of life inasmuchas a re-animated human would also. But would they be truly alive? If so, would they be the same? What about someone who has teleported? Does an auxilary reformation of molecules to match the original configuration mean that the consciousness has also reformed? Is human awareness captured in the central nervous system? How do I know for sure that you are aware? I know I am. Appearances...

I've had various states of awareness, some of which might be considered more dead or alive than others. I've also experienced varying degrees of sanity, which speaks of my connection with reality.

Is anybody truly aware of his reality? NO!

And to those who have skirted the "religious" in this debate, please re-read the article. It is among the subjects discussed. Leave your own self-centered, blind bias out.

More on how to freeze. If you can avoid destroying cell membrains, tissues and fragile chemical systems, you have hypothetical physical reanimation.


Mez
Posted 03 July 2007 at 03:09 am

This article was written by Matt Castle, our brand-spanking-new writer who joins us from across the pond where U's are used liberally and R's and E's are juxtaposed brazenly.

I'm afraid I don't quite understand this somewhat cryptic reference...?


misanthrope
Posted 03 July 2007 at 04:18 am

Mez: Matt's from over here in the UK, so expect 'colour' instead of 'color', and 'centre' instead of 'center' etc., as, of course, it should be. ;)


Iveriniel
Posted 05 July 2007 at 08:28 pm

"huerndy says:
This is nonsense, we all know that the real meaning to life, the universe, and everything is 42! I say that these hamsters are merely mouse brethren in another 3-dimensional representation of their pan dimensional bodies.

They are really continuing experiments on us humans. In this case, I strongly suggest giving them any brains that they desire, since they can't take Aurthur Dent's. It'll all be for naught though, the world's going to end at Stavro Mueller Beta."

---
I wonder if anyone else found as much joy out of this reference as I did? In fact, it inspired me, a lurker that has never posted, to well, post. Hooray for Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! Indeed, let the mice and their hamster cousins continue their experimentation. 42 is the real meaning of life. We just don't know why. Haha.

And in regard to Jade's comment:
"However, if you are just wanting to figure out if a new makeup product will cause lesions on a monkey and by proxy a human, I think that falls well outside something that betters humanity…"
I agree. Obviously, testing on animals has saved lives. In the end, most of the experiments done on animals that were NOT raised for the "purpose" of being experimented upon include cruel and unusual forms of torture to test whether or not make-up causes lesions, or sunscreen protects shaved bunnies. Many animals, such as chimpanzees, baboons, and monkeys are cruelly stolen from their native environment and experimented upon. Most of these animals are far more intelligent than they appear, yet people condone placing them in little cages and doing tests on them until they die. If people MUST test animals, at least give them a good environment so that they are happy when they are not being handled. None of that tiny metal box business.
As someone else posted here, many humans would be quite WILLING to be experimented upon in return for money. Indeed, many are when they enter drug research studies for money. There are tons of people out there that would be willing to test a product for money, or even to just keep the product. As for cows being stupid and deserving of death, I have to wonder about how people with that attitude feel about the less intelligent people of our society. It's a terrible mind-set, and leaves no room for any compassion.
I may be considered a 'hippie' or a 'tree-hugger.' Whatever. I am a vegetarian for many reasons; one of them is that meat is not healthy. Another is because I believe that even though meat was necessary for survival even 60 years ago, it is not needed today. People eat way too much meat, and all they have to show for it is a heart-attack. While I understand the food-chain, it doesn't mean that I need to kill- I respect anything that has a nervous system. Rainforests are cleared for cattle grazing land. Anyway, I could write a book about this. If you really want to know about the health reasons as for why I am a vegetarian, you can visit this website: http://philipngcc.homestead.com/ They don't even mention the moral reasons.

Rant finished. Anyway, DI article! I loved it...it really made me think about the ramifications of the development of such technology for the future. It also made me sad for the hamsters (yeah, yeah, I know. No one cares that I feel sad for the hamsters). Anyway, I wasn't trying to be rude to anyone. It just gets really annoying when people claim that vegetarians are stupid...if people would do a bit of thinking or *research* before they made illogical comments, they would never say them!


Mez
Posted 06 July 2007 at 05:46 am

misanthrope said: "Mez: Matt's from over here in the UK, so expect 'colour' instead of 'color', and 'centre' instead of 'center' etc., as, of course, it should be. ;)"

Ah, excellent. Being Australian, I spell that way too (although I admit that American spelling is generally more logical).

And: even from a utilitarian point of view keeping animals in tiny bare cages for experimentation is stupid. I recently read in New Scientist that apparently the effect of stress caused to animals from such conditions often swamps the signals of whatever it is that's being measured, making the experiment almot worthless.


G
Posted 06 July 2007 at 01:17 pm

I totally think the Earth could be a living entity. Where do you think we get names like "mother nature" "mother earth" and so forth. I'm sure you will find that lots of cultures believed as such. There are also scriptural references. Kinda cool if you ask me.


misanthrope
Posted 07 July 2007 at 09:15 am

G said: "I totally think the Earth could be a living entity. Where do you think we get names like "mother nature" "mother earth" and so forth. I'm sure you will find that lots of cultures believed as such. There are also scriptural references. Kinda cool if you ask me."

Ah, well, that settles it then. Who needs science?


Tink
Posted 07 July 2007 at 06:56 pm

Here ya go, for you all who hate the idea of animal testing; and all the rest who want a good laugh, Enjoy! ;):

http://gprime.net/video.php/theratman


jarvisloop
Posted 08 July 2007 at 05:14 pm

misanthrope said: "Ah, well, that settles it then. Who needs science?"

Both for G and misanthrope: 1. "Homo Sapiens: A topical, temporary, parasitical infestation of the water planet." 2. "Man exists purely at the whim of geological consent, subject to change without notice."


Truth-Engineer
Posted 09 July 2007 at 11:15 am

I value you all, even though you lack significant intelligence. You still have capacity to feel human emotions and moods, even if you are misguided by your ignorant dellusions.


MarshyMarsh
Posted 13 July 2007 at 12:42 pm

Enjoyable Read

Truth-Engineer said: "I value you all, even though you lack significant intelligence. You still have capacity to feel human emotions and moods, even if you are misguided by your ignorant dellusions."

Intelligence is not something that can be measured (allthough that is just opinion), so you cannot lable it a value, ie 'significant'.
If we are all ignorant and you do indeed have this vast wealth of 'intelligence' then I feel sorry for you, as being ignorant is bliss.


pogmog
Posted 13 July 2007 at 10:33 pm

They reanimated the animal by heating its heart? If the brain was still frozen, or at least offline, how could the heart coordinate its movments? Because the process is an controlled by the autonomic nervous system thats thats subconsciencly controlled by the brain. I'm not disagreeing, only querying.


Tir Na Nog
Posted 14 July 2007 at 06:41 am

mjunk said: "I can understand not wanting to get into a theological debate….lots of fun but nothing is resolved. But darn it, it is lots of fun. How about a legal debate? What would be the legal status of someone in stasis? What about someone who is revived? Would life insurance companies pay benefits to someone who has the potential to return to life? Would estates be settled, or left in probate unitl the issue is decided one way or the other? Could resusitation be court ordered? Or could a court block an attempt at resusitation? Lots of things to ponder….


Who would have thought "Mostly Dead" would go from being a memorable movie line to a potential state of being?

Anyway, great article, Matt. I look forward to more."

This reminds me of one of Papa Heinlein's lesser-known works "The Door into Summer", in which cryonics is pushed (by the insurance companies) as a means of time travel while ones stocks and bonds multiply (you just have to trust that your investments don't go bankrupt in the meantime!). RAH puts forth some interesting theories on the legalities of persons in statis, as well as their rights after 'reanimation'.


BoredByPolitics
Posted 18 July 2007 at 05:58 am

mohdowais said: "Wow, great thought-provoking article for a first attempt. I remember reading about a boy with a brain aneurysm that had to be surgically removed, and the only way they could it was to stop all his body functions by lowering his body temperature to near freezing point. Otherwise operating on him would be like "trying to fix a leaking pipe without turning off the valve". The surgery was successful and the boy made a full recovery.

I've had 5 operations on my middle ears. During the procedure I'm told that my heartbeat is slowed to 2 bpm, to prevent the middle ear filling up with blood and making the procedure impossible for the surgeon. Perhaps this boy had something similar, as opposed to the lowering of his overall body temperature (I imagine my body temperature would have dropped too is I were only pumping blood at 2 bpm).


spencer
Posted 20 July 2007 at 08:58 am

Their has been some discussion about NDE's and dying and such and I'd like to share something. I am so excited to die. I love my life and I believe suicide is bad but if I were in a situation where it was my life or someone elses I would gladly die. Or If somebody held me up at gunpoint to steal from me I'd say something like "I bet it's not loaded, If you're going to shoot me just shoot me, I'm not giving you anything." Of course I think I would do that but I won't know until I'm actually in that situation. I am just so curious and excited for that moment when I get to see what happens, either I will continue to exist and see what the afterlife is really like (which I am about 99% sure will happen) or I will just disappear which won't be a big deal because I won't exist to care. I'll probably have to wait another 60 years to see. Nuts!! Does anybody else feel this way?


jarvisloop
Posted 22 July 2007 at 05:57 am

spencer said: " Does anybody else feel this way?"

Actually, I am just looking forward to death, and I could not care less if an afterlife exists or not. Because I have a family, I can't commit suicide; it would scar my nearly-adult child too badly. I wouldn't mind a severe heart attack, but, once again, I want to be here for my child and possible grandchildren.

Otherwise, I have no reason to live, as is the case for many of us, I suspect but don't know for sure. In terms of importance to the world, I have nothing to offer, and, when I am gone, all but a very few persons will think about me just a few minutes after the funeral, assuming, of course, that anyone attends besides family.

It hit me many years ago that I (and how many others?) am simply an incredibly tiny cog in the great machine of humanity, one that serves virtually no purpose but to be a consumer and to be a creator of future consumers. I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child).

Simply existing so that I can enrich someone else's life and bank account (Bill Gates, the Ford family, the Honda family, the various executives of big business) is not much of a reason to live.

Good luck in your own lives, everyone. Here's hoping that you can avoid the pit of existentialist despair and make a successful leap of faith.

If you're extremely lucky, you'll never even stop to consider your place in the world and thereby exist in wonderful bliss.

Of course, you might be one of those who is truly important to the world. More power to you. Perhaps you are one of those who doesn't need a drug like Prozac (or some other drug similar to Huxley's soma in his "Brave New World") to be happy.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't drink, and I don't take any drugs of any kind, even that which a doctor could prescribe.

Goodbye. This will be my last post here in DI for any forum. Do me a favor, and don't post a reply to this. I've just written what I have wanted to tell somebody - anybody - for years and never have.


YarrPirates
Posted 22 July 2007 at 09:40 pm

EVERYTHINGZEN said: "From what I have heard, I don't want to be dead for a few hours and come back. Working in nursing some years ago, and also I have a couple friends who themselves or a parent has had this happen, I kept hearing stories from people who had open heart surgery and were put on bypass. They all had one thing in common; they couldn't explain what it was, but felt something had "changed" after the surgery. Several actually said "my brain just seems different. My memories, my thoughts, they are just different", some who said their dreams have been disturbing or at least not the norm for them ever since, and I thought it was kind of weird. They think it's pretty weird too.

You really think about it…if you are on bypass, your heart is stopped while machines keep your blood warm, you are essentially dead for some hours so they can operate, and then pumped back full of your blood and brought back to life with electrical shock. Surely that has some profound effect you. And according to these people it did.

So it makes me wonder; if you freeze to death and are brought back to life, after being dead minutes, hours, days, whatever, what happens to your brain? Don't you think, especially if you take some time to talk to those who have been dead for awhile and brought back (for example the bypass people), it changes you? Not like a spiritual awakening or change, but it screws with your head?

Did the hamsters live to their life expectancy after these experiments? Did they display the normal behavior of a hamster (stay nocturnal, still desire the same foods, etc) afterwards?

Great article Matt, very thought provoking, thanks!"

EverythingZen, I wouldn't worry about heart bypass patients, because although they do stop the heart, the brain does not shut down and restart - it simply goes unconscious. So anyone who has been knocked out with a punch or given general anaesthetic is in the same boat as the heart transplant patient when it comes to losing one's soul (I assume that's what you're getting at. Apologies if not.)

Being frozen might be a different matter.


YarrPirates
Posted 22 July 2007 at 11:06 pm

Animals are one thing….but what do you think about willing human participants being used in testing to possibly benefit the rest of mankind?"

I'd be absolutely fine with it if I thought that all humans were capable of understanding the risks involved in being a guinea pig. They're not. So we shouldn't allow it, because people will be taken advantage of in a way that may leave them dead or permanently disabled.

Also, the trials will not be set up in Western nations, they'd be essentially exploiting the poor, like medical studies already do in India and Nigeria. Dodgy as hell.


YarrPirates
Posted 22 July 2007 at 11:13 pm

jarvisloop said: "Actually, I am just looking forward to death, and I could not care less if an afterlife exists or not. Because I have a family, I can't commit suicide; it would scar my nearly-adult child too badly. I wouldn't mind a severe heart attack, but, once again, I want to be here for my child and possible grandchildren.

Otherwise, I have no reason to live, as is the case for many of us, I suspect but don't know for sure. In terms of importance to the world, I have nothing to offer, and, when I am gone, all but a very few persons will think about me just a few minutes after the funeral, assuming, of course, that anyone attends besides family.

It hit me many years ago that I (and how many others?) am simply an incredibly tiny cog in the great machine of humanity, one that serves virtually no purpose but to be a consumer and to be a creator of future consumers. I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child).

Simply existing so that I can enrich someone else's life and bank account (Bill Gates, the Ford family, the Honda family, the various executives of big business) is not much of a reason to live.

Good luck in your own lives, everyone. Here's hoping that you can avoid the pit of existentialist despair and make a successful leap of faith.

If you're extremely lucky, you'll never even stop to consider your place in the world and thereby exist in wonderful bliss.

Of course, you might be one of those who is truly important to the world. More power to you. Perhaps you are one of those who doesn't need a drug like Prozac (or some other drug similar to Huxley's soma in his "Brave New World") to be happy.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't drink, and I don't take any drugs of any kind, even that which a doctor could prescribe.

Goodbye. This will be my last post here in DI for any forum. Do me a favor, and don't post a reply to this. I've just written what I have wanted to tell somebody - anybody - for years and never have."

Just in case you changed your mind and decided to check for replies, mate: How the hell can you think that you've achieved nothing when you have a child?

There's also the option of becoming an eccentric professional troublemaker. If you don't think that your life means anything, then surely you don't care about personal repuation. Well, this is your chance to commit all those socially unacceptable, personally damaging activities you've always wanted!

Oh, and also, I assume you know this already, but just because a drug makes you "happy" (no such animal)
doesn't mean it is wrong to take it. I take antidepressants, and they don't make anything easier, they just make it possible for me to get things done if I can be bothered.

Unfortunately, I'm the laziest person I know. Hell, I ran out of antidepressants a few days ago and still haven't bothered to get new ones.

So take heart! It's actually very difficult to remain a drugged-up zombie. :D


YarrPirates
Posted 22 July 2007 at 11:16 pm

Animals are one thing….but what do you think about willing human participants being used in testing to possibly benefit the rest of mankind?"

I'd be absolutely fine with it if I thought that all humans were capable of understanding the risks involved in being a guinea pig. They're not. So we shouldn't allow it, because people will be taken advantage of in a way that may leave them dead or permanently disabled.

Also, the trials will not be set up in Western nations, they'd be essentially exploiting the poor, like medical studies already do in India and Nigeria. Dodgy as hell.

spencer said: "Their has been some discussion about NDE's and dying and such and I'd like to share something. I am so excited to die. I love my life and I believe suicide is bad but if I were in a situation where it was my life or someone elses I would gladly die. Or If somebody held me up at gunpoint to steal from me I'd say something like "I bet it's not loaded, If you're going to shoot me just shoot me, I'm not giving you anything." Of course I think I would do that but I won't know until I'm actually in that situation. I am just so curious and excited for that moment when I get to see what happens, either I will continue to exist and see what the afterlife is really like (which I am about 99% sure will happen) or I will just disappear which won't be a big deal because I won't exist to care. I'll probably have to wait another 60 years to see. Nuts!! Does anybody else feel this way?"

Hell no. You're a loony. :D I'm planning on never having the chance to find out whether there's an afterlife, by living forever. Hopefully Eric Drexler wasn't wrong.


supercalafragalistic
Posted 23 July 2007 at 06:37 pm

A few years ago I read an inspiring book written by Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan entitled Microcosmos. Here's a list of books about the Gaia ideas where you can read a short review of this book that I mentioned above and some others as well: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/6394/store.html

Here is a web site that has a good overview of Lynn's biography which is pretty damn interesting:
http://www.bookrags.com/Lynn_Margulis

Anywho, I will say that when I read Microcosmos over 10 years ago it was a time when the ideas of bacterial and viral evolution were so radical and new at the time. I was truly damned interested. In fact I read that book twice, and it continues to inspire me.


ehman
Posted 05 August 2007 at 10:30 am

"But attempts to repeat the experiments with larger mammals and at lower temperatures have never been successful. "

Actually the soviet union actually did same thing with dogs. see video.

More recently Americans, also created zombie dogs.


ehman
Posted 05 August 2007 at 10:52 am

Note: Parts of the soviet film are fake but they did perform similar experiments.


irishfairy123
Posted 06 August 2007 at 01:07 pm

Although I really would not want to be frozen and brought back to life, it might just be important to look into. I mean, we are talking cell preservation here. Think of the possibilities.


tednugentkicksass
Posted 10 August 2007 at 10:40 pm

irishfairy123 said: "I mean, we are talking cell preservation here. Think of the possibilities."

According to the "Dune" books, the Tleilaxu could make a ghola of you at some indeterminable time in the distant future. That could, potentially, be really sweet. Damn those foul Ixians.


Tink
Posted 14 August 2007 at 10:49 pm

jarvisloop said: "Actually, I am just looking forward to death, and I could not care less if an afterlife exists or not. Because I have a family, I can't commit suicide; it would scar my nearly-adult child too badly. I wouldn't mind a severe heart attack, but, once again, I want to be here for my child and possible grandchildren.


Otherwise, I have no reason to live, as is the case for many of us, I suspect but don't know for sure. In terms of importance to the world, I have nothing to offer, and, when I am gone, all but a very few persons will think about me just a few minutes after the funeral, assuming, of course, that anyone attends besides family.

It hit me many years ago that I (and how many others?) am simply an incredibly tiny cog in the great machine of humanity, one that serves virtually no purpose but to be a consumer and to be a creator of future consumers. I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child).

Simply existing so that I can enrich someone else's life and bank account (Bill Gates, the Ford family, the Honda family, the various executives of big business) is not much of a reason to live.

Good luck in your own lives, everyone. Here's hoping that you can avoid the pit of existentialist despair and make a successful leap of faith.

If you're extremely lucky, you'll never even stop to consider your place in the world and thereby exist in wonderful bliss.

Of course, you might be one of those who is truly important to the world. More power to you. Perhaps you are one of those who doesn't need a drug like Prozac (or some other drug similar to Huxley's soma in his "Brave New World") to be happy.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't drink, and I don't take any drugs of any kind, even that which a doctor could prescribe.

Goodbye. This will be my last post here in DI for any forum. Do me a favor, and don't post a reply to this. I've just written what I have wanted to tell somebody - anybody - for years and never have."

JarvisLoop!!! I wondered where you had been and just read your post here in this past article....Please come back, I'm willing to gamble that the rest of us miss you too. I know you love DI! too much to not be reading anymore, so come on back and share with us. Honey you are suffering from depression, we will help you.....Won't we ,you all!?


sulkykid
Posted 15 August 2007 at 09:55 am

Tink said: "JarvisLoop!!! I wondered where you had been and just read your post here in this past article….Please come back, I'm willing to gamble that the rest of us miss you too. I know you love DI! too much to not be reading anymore, so come on back and share with us. Honey you are suffering from depression, we will help you…..Won't we ,you all!?"

You bet!


thisismyseriousside!
Posted 15 August 2007 at 10:25 am

jarvisloop said: "Actually, I am just looking forward to death, and I could not care less if an afterlife exists or not. Because I have a family, I can't commit suicide; it would scar my nearly-adult child too badly. I wouldn't mind a severe heart attack, but, once again, I want to be here for my child and possible grandchildren.


Otherwise, I have no reason to live, as is the case for many of us, I suspect but don't know for sure. In terms of importance to the world, I have nothing to offer, and, when I am gone, all but a very few persons will think about me just a few minutes after the funeral, assuming, of course, that anyone attends besides family.

It hit me many years ago that I (and how many others?) am simply an incredibly tiny cog in the great machine of humanity, one that serves virtually no purpose but to be a consumer and to be a creator of future consumers. I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child).

Simply existing so that I can enrich someone else's life and bank account (Bill Gates, the Ford family, the Honda family, the various executives of big business) is not much of a reason to live.

Good luck in your own lives, everyone. Here's hoping that you can avoid the pit of existentialist despair and make a successful leap of faith.

If you're extremely lucky, you'll never even stop to consider your place in the world and thereby exist in wonderful bliss.

Of course, you might be one of those who is truly important to the world. More power to you. Perhaps you are one of those who doesn't need a drug like Prozac (or some other drug similar to Huxley's soma in his "Brave New World") to be happy.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't drink, and I don't take any drugs of any kind, even that which a doctor could prescribe.

Goodbye. This will be my last post here in DI for any forum. Do me a favor, and don't post a reply to this. I've just written what I have wanted to tell somebody - anybody - for years and never have."

I hope you still check in and read here, and please accept my apologizes as I am replying anyway. You will make a mark on this world...You have already...You have a child. The greatest gift that can ever be given is life. The most important job you ever have is being a parent. That job never ends...It evolves and changes, but never ends. And then you become a grandparent, and the moment your grandchild grasps your finger *sigh*, you lose your heart to them, just like you did when your own child was born. Please never change your outlook on suicide..okay? It is terrible to be the survivor of someone who takes their own life. My world has never been the same place. I still reach for the phone to call him when something exciting happens or I feel blue or for just a chat, and he's been gone for four years. NO ONE can take your place. YOU are special. You write very interesting things that I love to read. You are needed. You are missed here. I'm new here, and even I can see that. I believe in a God that heals and encourages, and uplifts - so I will keep you in my prays and your child too. Please take care, jarvisloop.


Radiatidon
Posted 15 August 2007 at 04:19 pm

jarvisloop said: "It hit me many years ago that I (and how many others?) am simply an incredibly tiny cog in the great machine of humanity, one that serves virtually no purpose but to be a consumer and to be a creator of future consumers. I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child)."

Jarvisloop… you berate yourself as insignificant. Yet various other faceless, unknown cogs on this list have been interrupted in their normal activities by your malfunction. Humm… could you be mistaken if your so called non-entity, only duty is to consume and produce other minor consumers?

Jarvisloop, perhaps you are more than you realize. Consider how a sophisticated marvel was taken down by an insignificant O-Ring. Or how her sister ship was also destroyed when some insignificant Tiles broke loose and allowed plasma gas to infiltrate the ship’s body. Yet as minor as these parts seem to be on the Shuttles, each had a tremendous impact when they gave up. As would you my friend.

You think that none would witness your passing? Your insignificant cog self would affect no one, nor anything? How blind you truly are. Each person affects those around them by creating a unique experience that had you not been there, would have been drastically different.

Your input on this list has caused others to respond due to what you wrote. That’s not a simple, insignificant, cog. You have changed and enlightened others that have never met you due to the creation of your words. All the greatest works are contained in the simple letters of the alphabet, regardless of the language. It takes a changer and creator to combine them, which shares your knowledge and wisdom with others.

How sad that you fail to realize your true worth to this world. I know that I have been both entertained and gained some wisdom from your words. Peace.


orc_jr
Posted 26 August 2007 at 03:00 pm

jarvisloop said: "I will write no great books, discover no great cures for diseases, help to pass no nation-saving laws, leave no mark on anyone's life for the better (with the possible exception of my child)."

This is, of course, a ridiculous rationalization for deciding you have no reason to live. I assume the majority of people in the world will also not contribute in any of the ways you listed. Suppose we all followed your example. What value does a book have if there is nobody to read it? Why cure a disease that has nobody to affect? What purpose does a law serve if there is nobody for it to serve?


Zed Oud
Posted 27 September 2007 at 10:30 pm

mjunk said: "First. Anybody care to discuss the theological implications of reanimated dead people? What about the soul? Does it get recalled from the "hereafter," are the reanimated soul-less, or did they never have a soul to begin with?"

tednugentkicksass said: "I don't think we need to get into any sort of religious debate…. it would just end up lessening the stature of this article. Not that religion is unimportant, but any discussion about it in cyber-space turns out the same way, with the same sides clearly defined."

This might be annoying, and 'pardon me for adding a quick 'religious' comment,' but as a educated Christian (yes they exist, I've in detail studied creationism and evolutionism,)
I might add what the Bible says. In Samuel I, we have an interesting chapter where Saul, first king of Israel, is in trouble, his head advisor (Samuel) was dead and he had no sound advise (he couldn't 'get in contact' with God at the time because of his 'immoralness' so he finds on the last remaining mediums of the time, she basically 'awakens' or 'brings up' (depending on translation, usually brings up) Samuel's spirit. (all in I Samuel 28 starting at verse 7) In other verses, it describes the 'afterlife' (until the Rapture or the Judgement Days, thats important, because as soon as the SECOND coming of Christ occurs, the spirits of most of everyone will be taken into Heaven's 'waiting room.' A small portion of the people will 'appear to people' in their alive bodily forms [decribed in Revelations.]) as a resting place.
Soooo... in other words, 'spirits' (which in the Bible often time contains many references to body, mind, and soul, and making up the spirit, the most important and revelent being last to first) rest in a sort of 'sleep' (also described in the Bible about 2 or 3 times) until the jugdement day.
So people with a bit of time in there, may or may not be aware of their existence [there], just like sleeping; which I might add, is how Jesus described people's state when they were sleeping, "...he is JUST sleeping." So you fellow Christians, please don't be upset but it is there, and no it does not go against modern theology, It just says that God has control over the lives (spirits) of those he controls, in other words, Enoch (father of Methuselah), Elijah, and Jesus, are up with God (somewhere, there are no clues except for Jesus, by the right hand of God).
Yah, so ask some questions if you want. Please don't spam me, I already apoligized. And if any wants to use this, PLEASE don't paraphrase (take things out of context).


HiEv
Posted 28 September 2007 at 05:56 am

Zed Oud said: "I might add what the Bible says."

You might, yes, but you might add what is written in Harry Potter novels as well. They're both equally well supported by objective evidence on the topic of souls (i.e. not at all.)

Look, all religions claim to have some notion of what happens to the soul when you die, all claim to be right, however what they claim varies from religion to religion. That is a contradiction, so most or all religions must be (at least partially) wrong. None of them have any greater evidence supporting their claims regarding souls than any other religion either. Heck, there isn't even good evidence a soul exists, so debating about what happens to your hypothetical soul when you die is like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Your religion may make you feel like you have the answers, but that's only due to blind faith, not objective evidence. Those kinds of claims are not particularly convincing to others who do not share your faith, unless they are the kind of people whom are easily swayed by people who speak with nothing more to support their argument than a blind faith that they're right.


Zed Oud
Posted 15 November 2007 at 10:19 pm

HiEv said: "Your religion may make you feel like you have the answers, but that's only due to blind faith, not objective evidence."

Blind faith is absolutely neccesary for concepts that are assumptions that are foundation for the most basic principles of science. If we didn't believe that other people have a concious and that we are unique in the universe when it comes to 'thinking' and 'existing', wouldn't there be a maelstrom of immorality, a lack of order, and no structure to society, (let alone society existing?) 'Blind faith' is neccesary for almost all aspects of life, because, I don't know about you, but I don't check every morning to see whether or not I'm still breathing and my heart is still pumping, I assume in [i]blind faith[/i] that everything is what I percieve it to be to the best of my knowledge, whether that knowledge come from myself, an article, college text book, or an inaccurate third grade science book. Again, I don't go to a hospital every couple of hours for an MRI and CAT scan, I assume in [i]blind faith[/i] that's the way it's supposed. Now something changed, it would the base of my thinking, wouldn't it? I would now awake believing a new blind faith every morning.
And come on, don't be so upset about religion, what did you meet a bad Catholic priest when you was witty-bitty boy.


HiEv
Posted 16 November 2007 at 07:43 am

Zed Oud said: "Blind faith is absolutely neccesary for concepts that are assumptions that are foundation for the most basic principles of science."

Utter balderdash. I see you didn't bother to name even one of those principals, because then it would be easy to see how empty your argument is. The fact that science has led us to a better understanding of our universe than anything else in human history demonstrates the power of science.

Simply put, science works. If you get sick or badly injured, do you go to a priest, or a doctor? And when you go to that doctor, do you use a vehicle brought to you by science, or by prayer? Science exists to test explanations of the facts like evolution, and evolution passes every test. So why do some people think that religion trumps science when it comes to evolution? Wishful thinking and blind faith seems to be the reasons why, and those are pretty poor reasons.

Zed Oud said: "If we didn't believe that other people have a concious and that we are unique in the universe when it comes to 'thinking' and 'existing', wouldn't there be a maelstrom of immorality, a lack of order, and no structure to society, (let alone society existing?)"

Except for the first point, no, none of that prevents the existence of morality or social order and structure. Of course we need to believe that others are conscious feeling people, but it's not like that requires "blind faith" to believe. One can simply observe the people around you to determine that their reactions require consciousness.

The fact is, there are many people who don't believe that we are unique in the universe, and that has in no way prevented them from being moral, law abiding, pro-order, pro-society human beings. Go ahead and check out your prisons, you'll find that they're brimming with theists of various religions, not atheists. Then check out secular humanism and you can see that a belief in deities isn't required for people to understand and want morality, ethics, and justice, though they want them to be based in reason, not dogma.

Zed Oud said: "'Blind faith' is neccesary for almost all aspects of life, because, I don't know about you, but I don't check every morning to see whether or not I'm still breathing and my heart is still pumping,"

You seem to be rather confused. "Blind faith" requires believing in something based on no objective evidence, and there is plenty of objective evidence that people who don't breathe or have brain function are dead. If you wake up in the morning, then that is your evidence that you're still alive and breathing. Facts like that don't require an MRI for verification. In other words, believing those things is most certainly not "blind faith", rather, it's called "not being a complete moron."

Zed Oud said: "I assume in [i]blind faith[/i] that everything is what I percieve it to be to the best of my knowledge"

Well, that would be a bad assumption. If you've ever been fooled by a magic trick then you know that everything you perceive is not entirely accurate. This is why objective testing and statistics are used in science, to help eliminate human errors in perception.

Zed Oud said: "And come on, don't be so upset about religion, what did you meet a bad Catholic priest when you was witty-bitty boy."

Charming.

No, I'm not upset with religion, I'm upset with people. People who try to denigrate all of the useful work done in science which has, for the most part, bettered human life and understanding, all because they're afraid that people finding facts and scientific explanations for those facts that don't agree with their particular dogma will somehow destroy the tapestry of their religion and the belief in their particular deity. A deity who, for all practical purposes, seems to have no testable effect at all upon anything.

Now, if people want to believe their blind faith-based religion, fine. I have no problem with that. However when people try to force their religious beliefs in the guise of science upon others who may not share their faith, especially naïve children, then that's just dishonest and wrong. If you want to believe that we have to pray to the moon to keep it from hitting the Earth and that babies are brought by storks, fine, just don't insult me by telling me that's science or try to force me to believe you if I happen to not share your silly blind faith.

The priests and pastors I knew back when I was a Christian all seemed to be fine people, and never did me any wrong, other than trying to shove their particular brand of religious nonsense and creationism down my pre-adolescent throat, most of which I swallowed hook, line, and sinker. Fortunately, at around 12 years old or so, I simply realized that the universe works exactly as it would if there were no gods. At that point I could no longer see a reason to believe gods exist, let alone worship them.

Still, I find it rather ironic that you claim that religion somehow prevents immorality in one sentence, and then allude to the numerous child molestations by Catholic priests in another sentence. If I thought your first claim had any merit, I might point out that your later attempt at an insulting dismissal of my motives actually damages your own argument. ;-)

Have a nice day!


dacoobob
Posted 18 November 2007 at 10:45 pm

"This article was written by Matt Castle, our brand-spanking-new writer who joins us from across the pond where U's are used liberally and R's and E's are juxtaposed brazenly."

I think you mean "transposed," not "juxtaposed." To juxtapose two things is to place them next to one another. To transpose them is to reverse their order (as in theater/theatre). Sheesh.


dacoobob
Posted 18 November 2007 at 10:54 pm

"Suda, however, was unable ascertain whether frozen cat brains dream of electric mice."

Yay, Philip K. Dick!


braver13
Posted 01 December 2008 at 11:48 am

hamsters = 1
humans = 0


MacAvity
Posted 03 May 2010 at 05:57 pm

I would define death as the point of no return. As soon as anything "comes back from the dead," we need to redefine the limits of death. From a scientific standpoint only, of course. In literature and entertainment you can mess with death all you want - only not in a cheesy way, please? - otherwise we wouldn't have Mostly Dead and suchlike brilliance.

HiEv said: "You might, yes, but you might add what is written in Harry Potter novels as well."

"To the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure."

There is much wisdom in Harry Potter novels. That particular quote was from Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Order of Merlin, First Class, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Yes, I am a nerd. I probably shouldn't have expressed my nerdliness quite so much, lest you lot take me less seriously, but there you have it.

The point being - and I don't just get this from Dumbledore, I assure you, we just happen to have similar views) - I kind of agree with Spencer in being more excited for than afraid of death, but the thing is, it's the last great adventure - no more afterward. There are so many things I want to do, adventures, big and small, I want to have, before I go, that I'm glad I've still got several decades left if all goes well.


D.A.Peters
Posted 14 January 2012 at 07:20 am

Even if Scientists do find means of bringing back frozen human bodies to life, don't you think that there will have to be some sort of cap to how many people they bring back ?

I mean if all of a sudden scientists started bringing everybody that died back to life, then the world would soon become a very very crowded place, i'm not trying to be morbid about it, but it makes no logical sense to bring every person that dies back to life.

Also as regards to passing away and then coming back & the psychological implications it may have; i believe that if during an operation for example the blood of the heart is being warmed, but the person is technically dead, then the mind(being as powerful as it) is will recognize this and surely go into some form of shutdown, when the patient is awoken i believe the strange feeling can either be one of interruption of the minds shutdown process or the awakening of a brain that has already shut itself down. Think of it like a computer, the heart is still pumping via machines, the brain knows the heart is not pumping by itself so therefor thinks that it should enter some form of rest, or shutdown, so the mind shuts the rest of the body down, effectively, the person & brain is dead. Then an electric pulse is sent to the nerves in the heart(Restarting the computer) and all of a sudden it starts pumping again, and the brain has to turn itself back on again(Start up process), hence causing the strange feeling. I am no doctor, i am no scientist, i study engineering, but nevertheless this all makes logical sense to me, flame me if you must but i am always open to opinion.


END OF COMMENTS
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